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What are Admissions Videos and Should I Make One?

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Gabbi Tobias College Admissions Advisor

Written by Gabbi Tobiason October 4th, 2022

I came to College Coach after being a decision maker in college admissions. I began my career at High Point University where I read and evaluated thousands of applications from territories across the US, including the Midwest and the West Coast. I led essay workshops and case studies to educate prospective families on the college admissions process. Dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion during my time at High Point, I implemented and led the office’s Diversity Recruitment Board, which focused on recruitment, yield, and retention of students from underrepresented communities. And as a recruited collegiate lacrosse player I understand the pressures and demands that the recruitment process entails. Not only have I worked with recruited athletes, but I myself have experienced the process firsthand!
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by Gabbi Tobias, former admissions officer at High Point University As you are filling out your college applications, you may put the final, polishing touches on your activities list and essays. Through holistic review, these pieces of the application will allow admission offices a deep dive into who you are outside of your academics. You finally hit submit on your application and notice you were given the option to upload an additional supplement: the college admissions video. But, should you? The short answer: it depends! Many students wonder what colleges and universities gain from you submitting a video. Well, we have some answers for you. What is a college admissions video? These videos are a relatively new application supplement that are becoming increasingly popular. The video is usually a two-to-five-minute clip that allows students to share more information about—and insight into—themselves in a creative way. When it comes to most admissions videos, there is no specific topic required or approach expected. This is a time for you to be authentic and natural. Do you have a part time job? Perhaps you talk about that, or even take your camera to work. A unique hobby? Maybe you teach the viewer about that hobby or demonstrate it in action. Are you proud of your hometown and want to show it off? Then a quick tour may be in order! Or maybe you simply want to take the admissions officer through a day in your life. These are all valuable topics for your admissions video, but by no means are they the topics you have to adhere to. Think about what makes you who you are and how you want to tell your story. The only strict rule I suggest: Try to avoid sounding too scripted. So, do I have to submit a college admissions video? This part of the college application process remains optional, for now. Keep in mind; it is a way for the school to gain additional insight into who you are as a person and student, rounding out the holistic admissions process. However, for some colleges the admissions interview can replace an optional interview or, in some instances, even the written essay. In the 2020-2021 application cycle, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown University replaced their popular alumni interviews with two-minute, applicant-produced video introductions. Wake Forest University and Bowdoin College give students the option to upload a video after submitting their application. Unlike Brown’s optional video, the Wake and Bowdoin videos are structured like interviews, where applicants answer prompts curated by the admissions office. At both Wake and Bowdoin, applicants have the option to do both an admissions interview and video, or one or the other. What is ZeeMee? Many colleges, including UC Berkeley, University of Southern California, and Hampton University use ZeeMee, a social media platform created specifically to help college applicants add more personality to their apps. Videos tend to be the main way students express themselves on this platform, but they can also share posts and stories, and interact with admissions offices and other prospective students. Though it may sound similar to Instagram and Facebook, content needs to be tailored to the college application process, and some colleges may ask students to answer specific, pre-set questions. If you have a skill or hobby that you feel you can’t do justice to in your application activity list, ZeeMee is a great option to highlight these. I loved learning about student’s unique talents and interests that otherwise I would not have known about. I have seen an interior design student rearrange an entire room in a series of short video clips, and a business student doing their 30-second sales pitch. Both worked and were insightful in getting to know the student. The key is to just be you; do not overthink it. If you are going to include a ZeeMee profile in your application, it is important to commit! It was always a letdown when students included a link to their ZeeMee and it had little to no information or was incomplete. Think of this as submitting an unfinished essay. You would not do that, would you? Even though it is an optional piece of the application, the same rules apply. Do not just include a profile to have it; if you do not have the time to sit down and put content on your profile it is best to leave it off your application. Okay, they’re optional. But should I submit a video? If you are not the strongest writer, or even in-person interviewee, a ZeeMee profile or admissions video can be a great option. Making a video will give you the time and space to thoughtfully sit down and curate the content that you wish to display, and you can edit and change it as you many times as you would like! For students whose academics do not accurately reflect who they are, having an admissions video is another great option that can show colleges other strengths.

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